| 29 February 2024, Thursday |

Malaysian lawmakers agree no house dissolution before end-July 2022

According to a pact reached with the opposition, Malaysia’s administration will not dissolve parliament before the end of July 2022, in order to ensure political stability as the country recovers from the COVID-19 issue.

Malaysia has been in upheaval since the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) was defeated in the 2018 election after more than 60 years at the leadership, amid serious corruption charges.

Two governments have since collapsed, with Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s recent appointment restoring the premiership role to UMNO.

Ismail Sabri’s coalition, which holds a slim majority in parliament, on Monday signed a cooperation pact with the main opposition bloc led by Anwar Ibrahim.

Under the pact’s terms, details of which were publicly released on Tuesday, the government agreed to carry out several decisions and reforms, including tabling laws to prevent defections and to limit the prime minister’s tenure to 10 years in office.

In return, Anwar’s coalition will not block the government on critical votes in parliament, where their failure to be passed could be construed as a sign of no confidence.

This includes a commitment to support or abstain on the government’s 2022 budget, which is set to be tabled next month. The budget must also be negotiated and finalised on a bipartisan basis, the agreement said.

The pact, the implementation of which will be monitored by a bipartisan committee, will last until dissolution of the current parliament.

Strengthening the COVID-19 plan, reforming parliamentary committees, equal funding for government and opposition MPs, opposition participation in a national recovery council, and decreasing the voting age from 21 to 18 are among the other reforms agreed upon.

On Tuesday, the finance ministry announced a 45 billion ringgit ($10.85 billion) increase in the government’s coronavirus fund, which the opposition had requested be included in the deal.

  • Reuters